Most expats living on Sal Island, live here all year round. Different nationalities all making our little island rock, a home. Many of the expats have friends or relatives visit here, all of whom want to go out somewhere nice for a drink or a meal. Depending on individual circumstances, some expats may find going out more often quite expensive. Expats who live here, may need to remind friends that we are not on ‘holiday’.

Working considerations for Sal

Not many European expats will be earning the wages they earned in European countries. It’s the price many people pay for living here, but many of us think it’s very much worth it!

Those wanting to come to Sal Island to start their own business or to work for someone else may need to carry out extensive research. In most situations it is advisable to spend some time on Sal. This would give you the opportunity to carry out this research and speak to other expats. For those that have tried or done this, they will have have different stories to tell. The experiences of others may make you think twice.

Those that have employment or businesses may have staff that speak English as well as Portuguese or Italian. If you speak those languages it will be a lot easier for you for communication purposes. Most of the businesses on Sal are Portuguese or Italian speaking. There are obviously many Chinese businesses but they manage with learning the local Creole language. In addition to this there are a number of English, German and Spanish business owners, as well as a few others. There are benefits of learning to speak Creole.

Tour Operators or Travel Agency’s on Sal may have vacancies for those speaking a number of languages.

Expats that have left Sal Island

Some expats living on Sal Island have lived here for short periods, a year, or many more years. A number of them ran their own companies that they set up in Cape Verde, others were self employed. However, some of them, for one reason or another, decided they should or must leave Cape Verde. Many moved back to their home country, while a few moved on from here to other places and start a new life. There may be a number of different reasons for this change.


Returnee investors who have become friends also come here twice or three times a year with their holiday funds. It’s sometimes difficult to explain that whilst they are here, we may still have to work. Other expats may rely on savings, a pension or other income to support their lifestyle in Cape Verde. Some expats won’t have the time or finances to support going out every day eating in restaurants or drinking in bars. The number of foreigners revisiting Sal has increased from small numbers in 2005, to a great deal more in 2019. More people therefor, become friends of those expats living on Sal.

Summer months

The summer months are much quieter, but this is also the time that many people living in European or other countries want to stay closer to home and hopefully, enjoy the better weather.

Those that have rental property on Sal can usually take some time during the summer to maintain their properties. Some expats may choose to stay on Sal for the summer or take a break, if circumstances allow. Other businesses may close for a month or longer periods. Staff may be given holiday pay but others may finish their contract of employment. There are laws which business owners need to follow so that that workers rights are protected. However, there could be a period where people are unemployed and may have to re-apply for jobs come the winter busy period. Expats living on Sal Island may also have to budget for unemployment periods.

Winter months

The winter period is attracting more visitors each year, as Sal Island becomes a winter destination for more countries. Many tourists want to avoid the colder weather in their home country. However, before doing so, they will need to take into account:

  • Their budget for their stay
  • Any necessary health or medical arrangements they need to consider to stay here for several months
  • Organise visa’s
  • Have arrangements in place to leave their main home for half a year to spend time on Sal as semi-residencial foreigners.


There are also those that arrive here to enjoy the winter sports such as kite-surfing and windsurfing for the winter months. With the growing demand for winter holidays and self-catering accommodation, there are fewer long term accommodation available. More owners offer self catering accommodation for short term lettings for one or two week periods. Short term lettings will generate more income for owners renting out their accommodation.

Property owners

There are a number of foreigners that own property on the island in which they also want to spend weeks or months in. Some may also rent out their property for certain periods and rely on the income to support their trips to Sal. However, once again the winter months are in demand with those wishing to stay on the island. Owners need to organise visits around those bookings, which may not always be suitable. Then there are other owners who prefer not to rent out their property and just keep for personal use.


The cost of flights also dictates when many expats prefer to travel, sometimes there are cheaper flights at certain times of the year. Expats want to take advantage of the cheaper flights as do visitors to Sal. It’s also the time when many friends and family also want to take advantage of the cheaper flights. The catch 22 situation with flights could result in a conflict of interest. However, hopefully, those friends and family will take into account the personal situation of expats that live on Sal. Those expats may not be traveling to their home country for a holiday, they may need to travel for other reasons.

Internal links

To download pdf’s or open other website information please visit our ‘Links’ page. Please note we try to keep these relevant to the information we are sharing on our site:

You may also like to visit our Yellow Business Listing for local contacts: and

External links

Sal Island – The power of paying forward – Dream Big.